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Girls in GirlGuiding can now earn a period badge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In a move to show that periods are nothing to be embarrassed about, GirlGuiding New Zealand has added a new ‘Oi, Period’ badge to its roster.

Developed in partnership with Organic Initiative (Oi), a New Zealand company that makes environmentally-friendly period products, the ‘Oi, Period’ badge aims to remove the stigma around periods, educate on the practical and cultural aspects and empower young people to take a stand against period inequity.

"Roughly half the population will get their period, yet from a young age there seems to be a view that periods are to be hidden away, not discussed and dealt with in private," says GirlGuiding New Zealand Chief Executive Susan Coleman. "Our programme is designed to do just the opposite by sparking conversations and encouraging girls to ask questions.

"There are now around 400 Guides and Rangers who are already wearing their Oi Period Badge with pride, with many more working towards completing the clauses to earn the badge in the new year," she says.

"The alignment with Oi is a natural fit as they share our commitment to health and sustainability - something we know young people also care deeply about."

Guides and Rangers aged 9 and a half years and older can earn the badge by participating in a range of activities such as donating period products to local marae or Women’s Refuge, writing letters and meeting with school principals to advocate for free period products in schools, finding out how they can use their voice to help break the period poverty cycle, explore how menstruation was celebrated in the past and why that has changed, and learn about traditional Maori views and tikanga surrounding periods.

14-year-old Ranger, Jessica attended an Oi Period Badge overnight camp, held for the Papawai Rangers and Morrinsville Senior Guides. "The camp provided a safe environment for everyone to learn and share about periods. The activities were relevant and taught everyone something and also enlightened me to the situations around the world involving this topic. I really enjoyed it and had heaps of fun while learning about this topic".

Helen Robinson, Oi’s CEO said her company is committed to ‘normalising’ one of the most normal and necessary bodily functions so menstruators don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed.

"The government’s new free period products in schools programme, together with initiatives like the Oi Period badge for GirlGuiding NZ, all help to mainstream the topic and empower young menstruators. And while there is still some way to go, it does feel like the momentum is shifting in the right direction!" says Robinson.

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